Mike Wright


To honor Mike, donate today to the Mike Wright Memorial Fund and help us reach our goal of $250,000

for Kidney Cancer Research and Advocacy

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Mike Wright smiling after climbing all 6,054 stairs of TCF Bank Stadium! He accomplished this even with metastatic kidney cancer and after multiple surgeries and chemotherapy. He defied the odds for 15 years. He kept climbing and so will we. Join us!

Team8, Climb 4 Kidney Cancer co-founder, Mike Wright, passed away peacefully, just days after his 55th birthday.  He died surrounded by his loving family, after a courageous, hard fought fifteen year battle with kidney cancer. Mike was born in Minneapolis, MN on July 27, 1964 to Susan and Mike Wright. He graduated from St. Thomas Academy in 1982 and Creighton University in 1986.

Mike loved living life to the fullest. He was known for quick and quiet wit, his deep love of family and friends, his passion for business, and his loyalty to his colleagues. He traveled the world, including working in Singapore and Australia, loved seeing live music, and was a natural at waterskiing and basketball. Mike excelled at numbers and probabilities, and loved games of strategy. He enjoyed traveling to Las Vegas with friends to wager on sports and horses, and was so successful he was often invited as a guest expert by Las Vegas radio shows to discuss college football odds.

Mike with his three kids, Camden, Samantha and Michael at Break the Bank 2018. Join us and Climb 4 Mike at https://climb4kc.org/break-the-bank-2019/

Mike was a driven, successful entrepreneur, and he cared deeply for the people who worked with him. In 2000 he purchased the licensing rights to Famous Dave’s retail products and successfully built the business from scratch into a national distributor of the company’s bbq sauce, pickles, cornbread muffin mix, and seasonings. Mike also owned many successful restaurants, and was as passionate for the businesses as his people, to whom he was deeply loyal and grateful.

Mike’s Company, Famous Products, donated a substantial amount of money to fight kidney cancer and funded both research and scholarships at the University of Minnesota.

Mike’s greatest win was to apply his passion for life to defy the odds again and again, fighting kidney cancer for fifteen years, driven by his desire to spend as much time living his life to the fullest with his children Samantha (27), Michael (17), and Camden (15).

One of Mike’s most enduring contributions was helping to co-found Team8, Climb 4 Kidney Cancer, a 501-c non-profit with the mission “to climb to promote wellness, research, and to elevate and celebrate those affected by kidney cancer.”  Team8 annually hosts Break-The-Bank at TCF Stadium, a Climb 4 Kidney Cancer, and climbs mountains all around the world to raise funds for kidney cancer research.

True to Mike’s adventurous nature, in 2013, Mike traveled with a team of doctors from the University of Minnesota, including Team8 co-founder Dr. Christopher Weight to Climb Devils Tower for Kidney Cancer.  Medical research and innovation are estimated to have saved nearly 1 million lives in the past ~15 years! ~40% of all Americans will develop cancer in their lifetime, and the risk of death from cancer is 6544 times the risk of death from a foreign terrorist.  The time to act is urgent, new cases of kidney cancer are rising faster than any other cancer in young American adults like Mike and yet kidney cancer research funding is only a fraction of the funding compared to other cancers. We have a wonderful opportunity to begin to change that.  This disparity was a big part of the motivation Mike had in helping to start up an organization focused on kidney cancer research.


Climb 4 Kidney Cancer is a Division of Team8, a 501-c non-profit dedicated to raising money for kidney cancer research. Learn more about us.

Donations for Cancer Research on behalf of Michael W. Wright

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Mike (lower) with the maroon U of Minnesota leggings, climbing up Devils Tower in 2013
Two members of the team reached the summit that day, commencing a series of climbs around the world to elevate and celebrate those affected by kidney cancer. See more from the navigational bar above under “Why we climb” –> “Past Summits”

In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to the Mike Wright Memorial Fund, which will help to fund Team8’s mission.  We invite you all to come join us as we Break-The-Bank and Climb 4 Mike on September 7, 2019. To learn more, please visit: https://climb4kc.org/break-the-bank-2019/

Mike with Dr. Arek Dudek (his medical oncologist) and Dr. Christopher Weight (Team8 co-founder)